10. February 2017 · Comments Off on Favorite Quotes: Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is The Way: Turning Trials into Triumph · Categories: Uncategorized

Below I have cited my favorite quotes from Ryan Holiday’s  The Obstacle is the Way: Turning Trials into Triumph

“We decide what we will make of each and every situation. We decide whether we’ll break or whether we’ll resist. We decide whether we’ll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve). Our perceptions are the thing that we’re in complete control of. They can throw us in jail, label us, deprive us of our possessions, but they’ll never control our thoughts, our beliefs, our reactions. Which is to say, we are never completely powerless. “ (Page 21)

“An entrepreneur is someone with faith in their ability to make something where there was nothing before. To them, the idea that no one has ever done this or that is a good thing. When given an unfair task, some rightly see it as a chance to test what they’re made of-to give it all they’ve got, knowing full well how difficult it will be to win. They see it as an opportunity because it is often in that desperate nothing-to-lose state that we are our most creative. Our best ideas come from there, where obstacles illuminate new options.” (Page 52)

“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given. And the only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage. “ (Page 69)

“We talk a lot about courage as a society, but we forget that at its most basic level it’s really just taking action-whether that’s approaching someone you’re intimidated by or deciding to finally crack a book on a subject you need to learn.” (Page 75)

“We will not be stopped by failure, we will not be rushed or distracted by external noise. We will chisel and peg away at the obstacle until it is gone. Resistance is futile.” (Page 77)

“Like any good school learning from failure isn’t free. The tuition is paid in discomfort or loss or having to start over. Be glad to pay the cost. There will be no better teacher for your career, for your book, for your new venture.” (Page 84)

“When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death.” (Page 89)

“Some problems are harder than others. Deal with the ones right in front of you first. Come back to the others later. You’ll get there.” (Page 92)

“Everything is a chance to do and be your best.” (Page 94)

“To whatever we face, our job is to respond with: hard work, honesty, helping others as best we can.” (Page 95)

“Right action-unselfish, dedicated, masterful, creative-that is the answer to that question. That’s one way to find the meaning of life. And how to turn every obstacle into an opportunity.” (Page 96)

“But if you’ve got an important mission, all that matters is that you accomplish it.” (Page 100)

“Part of the reason why a certain skill often seems so effortless for great masters is not just because they’ve mastered the process-they really are doing less than the rest of us who don’t know any better. They choose to exert only calculated force where it will be effective, rather than straining and struggling with pointless attrition tactics.” (Page 106)

“Ordinary people shy away from negative situations, just as they do with failure. They do their best to avoid trouble. What great people do is the opposite. They are their best in these situations. They turn personal tragedy or misfortune-really anything, everything- to their advantage.” (Page 120)

“To be great at something takes practice. Obstacles and adversity are no different. Though it would be easier to sit back and enjoy a cushy modern life, the upside of preparation is that we’re not disposed to lose all of it-least of all our heads-when someone or something suddenly messes with our plans.” (Page 137)

“The next step after we discard our expectations and accept what happens to us, after understanding that certain things-particularly bad things- are outside our control, is this: loving whatever happens to us and facing it with unfailing cheerfulness.” (Page 152)

“We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it. Any why on earth would you choose to feel anything but good? We can choose to render a good account of ourselves. If the event must occur, Amor fati (a love of fate) is the response. “(Page 154)

“There are more failures in the world due to a collapse of will than there will ever be from objectively conclusive events.” (Page 158)

“Shared purpose gives us strength.” (Page 164)

“Whatever you’re going through, whatever is holding you down or standing in your way, can be turned into a source of strength-by thinking of people other than yourself. You  won’t have time to think of your own suffering because there are other people suffering and you’re too focused on them.” (Page 165)

“Compassion is an option. Camaraderie as well.” (Page 165)

“Help you fellow humans thrive and survive, contribute your little bit to the universe before it swallows you up, and be happy with that. Lend a hand to others. Be strong for them, and it will make you stronger.” (Page 166)

“But thinking about and being aware of our mortality creates real perspective and urgency. It doesn’t need to be depressing. Because it’s invigorating. And since this is true, we ought to make use of it. Instead of denying-or worse, fearing-our mortality, we can embrace it. Reminding ourselves each day that we will die helps us treat our time as a gift. Someone on a deadline doesn’t indulge himself with attempts at the impossible, he doesn’t waste time complaining about how he’d like things to be. They figure out what they need to do and do it, fitting in as much as possible before the clock expires.” (Page 170)

05. February 2017 · Comments Off on Favorite Quotes from The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield · Categories: Uncategorized

These are my favorite passages from The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

“If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct , as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.”

“Fear that we will succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are. This is the most terrifying prospect a human being can face…” (Page 143)

“We come into this world with a specific personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it. Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it. If we were born to paint, it’s our job to become a painter. If we were born to raise an nurture children, it’s our job to become a mother. If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance and injustice of the world, it’s our job to realize it and get down to business.”  (Page 146)

“But the artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life. The artist must operate territorially. He must do his work for its own sake. To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.” (Page 151)

“Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it? If you’re all alone on the planet, a hierarchical orientation makes no sense. There’s no one to impress. So, if you’d still pursue that activity, congratulations. You’re doing it territorially. If Arnold Schwarzenegger were the last man on earth, he’d still go to the gym. Stevie Wonder would still pound the piano. The sustenance they get comes from the act itself, not the impression it makes on others.” (Page 159)




27. January 2017 · Comments Off on Congratulations to Barbara Alvarez on Embedded Business Librarianship Article/Book · Categories: Uncategorized

Congratulations to Barbara Alvarez, who was a guest columnist on this blog back in the summer of 2015 when she reported on the ALA Conference!

Barbara authored a piece in the ALA Magazine January/February 2017 edition entitled: Embed with Business: Taking your library into the business world found on pages 44 to 48 (the starting page to go to on the pdf viewer is page 46). Barbara also wrote Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian.

Below are some of my favorite passages from Barbara’s ALA Magazine piece:

“Instead of going to community functions to give sound bites about the library and why people should support it, or presuming to know how it can support them, an embedded librarian will attend meetings, join committees, and network in ways that emphasize the library’s desire to learn and understand the business community as a peer.”

“It is important not to seize this moment as just an opportunity to boost program attendance and door count numbers, but instead to put energy into forming and sustaining meaningful connections.”

“When members of the business community are informed about the resources, workshops, technology, or other ongoing engagement projects at the library, they are often amazed, intrigued, and prompted to learn more. This appreciation grows when librarians develop meaningful relationships and work with business people on committees and socialize with them in networking groups. This appreciation can become mutual advocacy. The library no longer has to tout its own accomplishments and worth because others will advocate for it. It is much more valuable to have peers vouch for an organization than to have the organization vouch for itself.”

“However, embedded business librarianship is not self-serving. It comes from a true and honest attempt to understand, learn, and be an equal partner. This means stepping back and listening-not just telling the business community what you think they want to or should hear. It also means demonstrating the library’s case, not just saying it. Embedded business librarianship recognizes that you do not know or have to know all the answers to the issues or struggles that the business community faces. You are going to work with them toward a solution, not try to be the solution.”

“Essentially, when you develop relationships with the business community, you are developing relationships with the entire community.”

“You may feel you need to be a business expert to get started in this role. That is not true. Having a business background can certainly be helpful, but an interest, curiosity, and desire to learn more about business are the most essential assets. The most important aspect is your knowledge of your library and your own eagerness and desire to make a difference. If a library professional possess these qualities, there is no reason that he or she cannot be an embedded business librarian.”

“As you continue in the embedded  business librarian role, you will go from an outsider who has to be clued into the community’s goings-on to someone who is aware of the latest developments, trends, and events.”

“This is a process that will take time. Have patience with yourself and with the community. Encourage yourself to learn new technologies, trends, relationship interactions, and everything else that comes with your role.”

27. January 2017 · Comments Off on Final Post on the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up · Categories: Uncategorized

This is the last in a series of posts on Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

One final piece of advice from Kondo with respect to storage is found on page 142.

“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away not the effort needed to get them out.”

22. January 2017 · Comments Off on Post 2: Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo · Categories: Uncategorized

This is a continuation from last week’s post on Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

How often should one be tidying? Kondo urges us to make tidying marathons a special occasion to prevent rebound. The reason being is that one-big tidying session has far more positive mental impact on us than a gradual tidying. Also, with tidying that is done piecemeal we are most likely to give up or postpone completing the tidying session until some other time. Once a successful tidying session has been completed, there will come a point when the person knows just how much stuff they really need, then they can stop discarding and focus on storing items. After doing this, then the person only has to engage in daily-tidying which just means putting things back where they belong.

Kondo believes that the best order in which to tidy is to start with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, and then items of sentimental value. The reason is that things that are not rare or things that lack much personal value are the easiest to start with.  If you start with precious things first, you can easily get discouraged from continuing. For clothing, I found that Kondo’s recommendation to store things standing up instead of laying them flat works best to see all the clothes in a drawer which would be difficult to do if you just laid one set of clothing over another set.  For books, the suggestion is to only keep the ones that spark joy and would make it into a special book “hall of fame.” I enjoyed Kondo’s remarks that the true meaning of a book is to convey information not to sit permanently on a shelf. Once the book has been read we have experienced what the book had to offer, so we are ready to part with it. For papers, Kondo’s rule of thumb is to discard everything.  For miscellaneous items, store only those things that bring you joy.

Now for the precious sentimental items, these should actually be handled (as with everything else listed above) one by one. Kondo’s main point is that the importance that keepsake items had was fulfilled at the moment they were either created or when the information they contained was read. When we work with the sentimental items we are actually sorting out our past and putting it in order.

My favorite quotes on the keepsake items are cited below:

Page 117, “The purpose of a letter is fulfilled the moment it is received.”

Page 118, “It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”

Page  119, “The meaning of a photo lies in the excitement and joy you feel when taking it. In many cases the prints developed afterward have already outlived their purpose.”

Finally, I thought it valuable to note that Kondo believes we should properly send off discarded items with a greeting so that we launch them on a new journey.

16. January 2017 · Comments Off on Post 1 on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo · Categories: Uncategorized

The 8020librarian likes to impart the idea that not everything is important and that a single project or a few small things end up having a major impact.

Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is well worth the read. The main take-away that I get is that by cleaning up you make a direct positive impact on your personal life. For me, while I have not completely gotten to where I need to be as a cleaner, I have noticed that mentally things become clearer after parting with possessions that I no longer need.

Conceptually, the two main tenets to Kondo’s cleaning philosophy are discarding and then deciding where to store things. Discarding is the most important and must come first. While, I can think of a number of questions to ask myself when discarding (i.e. Do I really need this? Who could use it?, etc.) Kondo’s main question for almost all the possessions you own is straightforward. She asks, does the item spark joy?  Here we are not following rational thought, but rather intuition. If the possession does not spark joy, get rid of it.

For further reading, Kondo mentions the Art of Discarding by Nagisa Tatsumi.

I will be back in the next post with some of the tips I learned from the book about how often to tidy, the best way to tidy, and how to rethink our relationship to precious possessions.

16. December 2016 · Comments Off on Goodbye 2016: Ten Personal Goals for 2017 · Categories: Uncategorized

A few things I am looking to do in 2017 as the sun sets on 2016

1)      Eliminate the non-essential in all of its formats (noise, mental distractions/worries, unnecessary technological activity, and material/physical stuff) in order to focus on what is most important.

a.       I’m reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo to start the process

2)      Do more Stopping and Savoring of Experiences instead of Rushing Through Experiences

a.       I’m working on being more contemplative/ reflective instead of trying to hurry up and grasp for a quick jolt of exuberance in a given life experience. It pays to stop and savor the moment. Lingering in the joy of a positive moment allows a sublime memory to cement itself in the brain.

3)      Use the “inner drill sergeant” in the right contexts, turn him off when appropriate

a.       I constantly had the “inner drill sergeant” going at full blast at all times even during off days which creates far too much self induced pressure. My off day was fully regimented from start to finish, with no time to stop and think about the big picture.  What I am planning to do is use “the inner drill sergeant” to take on my most important tasks and for doing regular physical exercise. I plan to have some-time when I am “at ease” for non-task oriented life experiences.

4)      Teach others how to do something that I’ve been doing for a while

a.       It pays to spread the wealth of knowledge. This empowers others to do something that they have not done before and to develop their confidence and skills. It also allows for a positive relationship to form between the learner and the teacher. The teacher also benefits by having time to move onto other challenging concerns while the learner handles a task that they have already mastered.

5)      Connect with community and nature more

a.       I plan to have one day a week where my car use will be very limited if I choose to use the car at all. It pays to walk around town, visit places I haven’t seen before, and to see what people are up to. This also allows for a savoring of nature and getting outdoors.  A side benefit is that without the use of the car, I can’t get trapped into doing chores during the entire day. If I can’t walk to where I need to be, it’s not going to happen.  The kiss of death for a day off is driving a long distance to accomplish an Administrative Concern (AC) which is an errand or chore.

6)      Lead initiatives when passionate about leading,  but also be open to being a wise follower

a.       Have you ever gotten voluntarily  involved in a group in your community and been asked if you want to lead such and such group, program, activity, etc? If you’re passionate about it, have the time for it, get off the charts personal enjoyment (PE) out of it, and will get the support you need from the community group then go for it! On the other hand if you’re passionate about it, being a follower is still great with a far more flexible level of commitment. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I already have leadership commitments elsewhere. This activity (group, club, program, etc.) allows me to have fun while not feeling overcommitted. If you’d like I can give you my thoughts on the characteristics of a person that could best lead this.” If you don’t have leadership commitments elsewhere just use the last two sentences from the quote above.  A wise follower recognizes that their maximum personal enjoyment (PE) is found in an equilibrium between being active/dedicated to something, but not being overcommitted.

7)      For days off make sure PE (Personal Enjoyment) activities outweigh completing ACs (Administrative Concerns). The worse case scenario is that PE activities should be equal to ACs. Never let ACs outweigh PEs on an off day if you can help it.

8)      Give thanks everyday as each day brings gift

9)      Strive for 20 minutes of pure silence each day, work up to an hour of silence each day by the end of 2017.

a.       This is pure meditative silence. No actions should be completed during this time. I am hoping to strengthen my creativity muscles.

10)   Journal and record the positive unforgettable found in each day. Don’t feel bad about postponing non-emergencies if you have to, non-emergencies end up being the forgettable stuff in life anyway.

18. November 2016 · Comments Off on Presentation at Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference · Categories: Uncategorized

I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in Annapolis from November 3 to 5, 2016. I presented on a panel entitled Wearing Many Hats. See the slides at http://hdl.handle.net/1903/18895



28. October 2016 · Comments Off on Originals by Adam Grant: Favorite Quotes Part 2 · Categories: Uncategorized

Originals by Adam Grant: Favorite Quotes Part 2

“Building on a classic book by economist Albert Hirschman, there are four different options for handling a dissatisfying situation. Exit means removing yourself from the situation altogether. Voice involves actively trying to improve the situation. Persistence is gritting your teeth and bearing it. Neglect entails staying in the current situation but reducing your effort.” (p. 79)

“Fundamentally, these choices are based on feelings of control and commitment. Do you believe you can effect change, and do you care enough to try? If you believe you’re stuck with the status quo, you’ll choose neglect when you’re not committed, and persistence when you are. If you do feel you can make a difference, but you aren’t committed to the person, country, or organization, you’ll leave. Only when you believe your actions matter and care deeply will you consider speaking up. (p. 80)”

“The lesson here is that voice isn’t inherently superior to exit. The best we can do is voice our opinions and secure our risk portfolios, preparing for exit if necessary (p. 90)”

“Even if your organization doesn’t currently embrace critical upward feedback, holding an open season on leaders might be an effective way to begin changing the culture (p. 203)”

“…Envisioning the worst- case scenario enables us to harness anxiety as a source of motivation to prepare and succeed. (p. 217)”

“If you want people to go out on a limb, you need to show them that they’re not alone. (p. 226)”

“It’s easier to rebel when it feels like an act of conformity. Other people are involved so we can join too (p.227).”

“In his workshops, Popovic (Serbian activist Srdja Popovic lead the cause to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic) trains revolutionaries to use humor as a weapon against fear (p. 228).”

“When Harvard professor John Kotter studied more than one hundred companies trying to institute major changes, he found that the first error they made was failing to establish a sense of urgency (p. 232).”

“”Instead of courage,” management guru Tom Peters recommends fostering “a level of fury with the status quo that one cannot not act.” (p. 236) ”

“Originals embrace the uphill battle, striving to make the world what it could be (p. 242)”

21. October 2016 · Comments Off on Favorite Quotes from the Originals by Adam Grant: Part One · Categories: Uncategorized



Favorite Quotes from the Originals by Adam Grant: Part One

“Justifying the default system serves a soothing function. It’s an emotional painkiller: If the world is supposed to be this way, we don’t need to be dissatisfied with it. But acquiescence also robs us of the moral outrage to stand against injustice and creative will to consider ways that the world could work. The hall mark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.” (p. 7)

“Being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better.” (p. 105)

“Conceptual innovators formulate a big idea and set out to execute it. Experimental innovators solve problems through trial and error, learning and evolving as they go along. They are at work on a particular problem, but they don’t have a specific solution in mind at the outset. Instead of planning in advance they figure it out as they go.” (p. 109-110)

“Researchers Debra Meyerson and Maureen Scully have found that to succeed, originals must often become tempered radicals. They believe in values that depart from traditions and ideas that go against the grain, yet they learn to tone down their radicalism by presenting their beliefs and ideas in ways that are less shocking and more appealing to mainstream audiences.” (p. 124)

“Our instinct is to sever our bad relationships and salvage the ambivalent ones. But the evidence suggests we ought to do the opposite: cut our frenemies and attempt to convert our enemies.” (p.131)

“The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity…”(p. 136)

“Instead of assuming that others share our principles, or trying to convince them to adopt ours, we ought to present our values as a means of pursuing theirs. It’s hard to change other people’s ideals. It’s much easier to link our agendas to familiar values that people already hold.” (p. 140)

“According to eminent Standford professor James March, when many of us make decisions, we follow a logic of consequence: Which course of action will produce the best result? If you’re like (Jackie) Robinson, and you consistently challenge the status quo, you operate differently, using instead a logic of appropriateness: What does a person like me do in a situation like this? Rather than looking outward in an attempt to predict the outcome, you turn inward to your identity. You base the decision on who you are-or who you want to be.” (p.154)

“When our character is praised, we internalize it as part of our identities. Instead of seeing ourselves as engaging in isolated moral acts, we start to develop a more unified self-concept as a moral person. (p. 168)”

“When we shift our emphasis from behavior to character, people evaluate choices differently. Instead of asking whether this behavior will achieve the results they want, they take action because it is the right thing to do. (p. 170)”

“If we want to encourage originality, the best step we can take is to raise our children’s aspirations by introducing them to different kinds of role models.” (p. 171)

“Remarkably, there are studies showing that when children’s stories emphasize original achievements, the next generation innovates more.” (p. 173)

“Founders with a commitment blueprint went about hiring differently. Skills and potential were fine, but cultural fit was a must. The top priority was to employ people who matched the company’s values and norms. The commitment blueprint involved a unique approach to motivation, too. Whereas founders with professional and star blueprints gave employees autonomy and challenging tasks, those with commitment blueprints worked to build strong emotional bonds among employees and to the organization. They often used words like family and love to describe the companionship in the organization, and employees tended to be intensely passionate about the mission. ….. When founders had a commitment blueprint, the failure rate of their firms was zero-not a single one of them went out of business.” (p. 180)

“Dissenting opinions are useful even when they’re wrong.” (p. 185)

“While it can be appealing to assign a devil’s advocate, it’s much more powerful to unearth one. When people are designated to dissent, they’re just playing a role. This causes two problems: They don’t argue forcefully or consistently enough for the minority viewpoint, and group members are less likely to take them seriously.” (p. 193)

“Dissenting for the sake of dissenting is not useful. It is also not useful if it is ‘pretend dissent’-for example, if role-played,” Nemeth (Charlan Nemeth Berkely psychologist) explains. “It is not useful if motivated by considerations other than searching for the truth or the best solutions. But when it is authentic, it stimulates thought; it clarifies and it emboldens.” (p. 193)

“By building a culture in which people are constantly encouraging one another to disagree, Dalio (CEO Ray Dalio of Bridgwater) has created a powerful way to combat conformity. Yet the kind of disagreement he seeks is the opposite of what most leaders invite.” (p. 196)